Sun, 20 Jun 2021

Practice 10 First Impressions of Ravens' Rookie Class

Baltimore Ravens
16 May 2021, 05:25 GMT+10

Ryan Mink

For the players, rookie minicamp is about learning on the fly - or "drinking from the firehose," as coaches like to put it.

For the rest of us, it's about getting first impressions. Here's what stood out to me:

1. I see why there was buzz about Rashod Bateman measuring in at just a tick over 6-foot and 190 pounds at his Pro Day. He seems bigger than his size. Bateman is a well-proportioned wide receiver with a good combination of size and speed. He didn't have any trouble getting off press coverage and glides through his routes.

2. "Glide" is an intentional word choice for Bateman because everything he does looks smooth. He catches the ball cleanly, eats up cushion with his acceleration, and is good in and out of his breaks. Word is that Bateman also made a few nice plays in Friday's practice.

3. As my colleague and former longtime basketball reporter Clifton Brown mentioned, first-round edge rusher Odafe Oweh looks like he could be playing in the NBA. His athleticism instantly pops.

4. Oweh is getting a lot of one-on-one instruction with Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins. Considering he's only played football for five years, Oweh has a lot of nuances to learn. Given his immense talent and work ethic, he's an exciting toy to assemble.

5. We've all marveled at Ben Cleveland's mountainous upper body, and I can report that the lower half matches. Cleveland has tree trunks for legs with monster calves. His forceful punch is evident, but Cleveland will also move defensive linemen with his strong lower half. His footwork seems smooth too, which isn't a surprise given that he was also a really good baseball player.

6. You wouldn't be able to tell that third-round cornerback Brandon Stephens has only been playing the position for two years after converting from running back. His backpedal looked smooth and he had no trouble turning and running with wide receivers (often Bateman) well. Stephens looks thickly built and worked exclusively at cornerback Saturday.

7. Don't sleep on fourth-round wide receiver Tylan Wallace. It's a big adjustment for him moving around to different spots in the offense after lining up almost exclusively on the right side at Oklahoma State. But Wallace has the suddenness and acceleration in his route-running to create separation, which makes him an interesting slot option. He had a nice diving catch in a situational hurry-up drill late in practice and, like Bateman, shows very reliable hands.

8. Fifth-round cornerback Shaun Wade made a fine diving pass breakup late in the practice. He has good length. Fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes was in the backfield a few times during Saturday's session, showing good burst off the edge. He really soaks up coaching.

9. Keep an eye on undrafted safety Ar'Darius Washington out of TCU, who was around the ball a few times. He looks like he's listed - at 5-foot-8, 176 pounds - but he's got enough pop. Undrafted inside linebacker Barrington Wade (Iowa) made some plays too, though he had an interception bounce off his hands.

10. Undrafted quarterback Kenji Bahar from Monmouth deserves some props. He was the only quarterback, so his right arm is going to need some ice tonight. The 6-foot-3 Baltimore native (Calvert Hall) looked pretty darn good. There weren't many balls hitting the turf.

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